Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Furry Friend 1989 ~ 2006

Theme ~ My 50 Years in America 

During our married life of some 26 years, my husband and I have lived with nine dogs, two cats, and two parakeets. Most of them, including one parakeet, were rescued from the streets of Los Angeles. 

While you love them all equally, a few become just so very special. This was the case with a little gray kitten that wandered into our yard one day and was immediately snapped up by Gypsy and Red, our Dobermans. My husband was home, on crutches with an injured leg, but he managed to rescue the kitten. It was so full of fleas that my husband proceeded to almost kill it with an overdose of insecticides. 

The kitten survived the night and we took him to the vet the next morning. He was in a bad shape, maggots were forming, it was that bad. After the vet did what was necessary to try to save him, the kitten was put in an incubator, where he stayed for several days. The vet said, "this kitten has a strong will to live." And live he did for almost 18 years.

We were sailing at the time, so we named him Sindbad, the sailor cat. First thing he did when he came home was to cause Samantha, our other cat, so much upset that she lost all her fur and had to be put on steroids, which made her gain a lot of weight.

It was actually easier to get our Dobermans to accept Sindbad, but after a while Samantha, realizing he wasn't going anywhere, decided to tolerate him. Her fur grew back,  she lost the weight, and Sindbad was now an important  part of our family. And my best furry friend. 

Sindbad soon realized that climbing trees and living on rooftops was far better than staying home on the ground, where had to deal with big dogs and an alpha female cat. As the years went by, more dogs were added to our pack, all of them large, so Sindbad developed a routine where he would climb on the flat roofs of the Spanish style bungalows in our neighborhood and disappear for the day. I have no idea where he went; I suspect he snoozed the day away in some hidden spot. He was usually gone until dinner. 

Bandit and Sindbad

Then I would hear him - "meow, meow" - from far away. He would stop at the end of the neighbor's garage roof, look at the roof of our house, act as if jumping that far would be impossible. Then he would complain loudly until I dropped whatever I was doing inside to come out and encourage him. "Meow, meow," he would say, "I don't think I can do this." "Yes, you can, come on my boy, you can do it!" This  would go on for a while, until he made the big jump, and it was big, but he never missed. 

The sad times came as old age set in. I was the one who was sad; Sindbad took it all in stride. For him, it was just a part of life and you had to make do. First he got stuck in the tree that he always climbed. We heard lots of crying meows and we had to help him get down. He never climbed that tree again. Then he could no longer climb from the truck to the garage roof. He got stuck and couldn't get his hind legs up. But with a lot of grace and dignity, once he realized that he could no longer do something, he just stopped. He spent a lot of his old age in our garden, usually under cover of a car or a bush. Then he moved into the house and loved to sleep the day away in a sunny spot. He was content, my sweet cat.

He died here, five months after we moved to the canyon. We buried his ashes in our yard, together with those of a couple of his dog friends. Throughout his long life, old dogs would pass away, new dogs would arrive, and Sindbad took it all in stride. He got along with everyone and was very special, both to us and our dogs. Sindbad truly was one of the great loves of my life. 

Angel and Sindbad


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